Natural Approach to Allergies
By Christine Cheng, R.Ph.
It’s that time of year again when the sneezes we hear around us are due to seasonal allergies rather than the common cold or flu. Traditional remedies such as antihistamines carried by conventional drugstores may sometimes lose their original efficacy over time or their use should be minimized, as in the case of pregnancy or in patients with certain cardiovascular conditions. For these people, there are natural options that can help with symptoms as well as improve (i.e., minimize) your body’s reaction to different allergens.
Since allergy symptoms can be viewed as a hyper-reaction of the immune system to normally innocuous substances, minimizing this reaction is the first step in helping with your symptoms. Homeopathic THYMULINE and POLLENS taken on alternating days of the weeks for 5-10 weeks (ideally beginning prior to the start of the allergy season) can help prime your immune system and “teach” it to be less reactive when it encounters the actual allergen. Many of our patients have reported a decrease in their allergy symptoms after completing a course of this homeopathic program. Probiotics taken on a daily basis can also minimize symptoms of all sorts of allergies, not just hay fever, due to their immunomodulating effects. Go for one that has multiple bacterial strains with a high colony-forming unit count such as ACIDOPHILUS ULTRA PLUS.
Other non-conventional and natural approaches to treating overactive immune responses to inert allergens include using anti-oxidants such as GRAPESEED EXTRACT or QUERCETIN, both of which can help with allergic reactions. Grapeseed extract is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin can help regulate histamine-producing mast cells, reducing the allergen-driven release of histamine. This combination can be found in a product called NATURE’S DEFENCE by SISU. Alternatively or concurrently, taking higher doses of ESTER-C® can also help reduce allergic symptoms. Aim to take 1000mg on a daily basis. These ingredients have cumulative benefit thus should be taken on a daily basis.
For those who may have any concerns about drug interactions, it is safest to use homeopathic products, which have no known interactions. Most remedies can even be used in pregnancy and lactation as well as in children. PASCALLERG® is a non-specific product that can help with all sorts of allergies in addition to hay fever. This homeopathic remedy was recently studied in a clinical setting and over 60% of patients studied became symptom-free or noticed a significant improvement in their symptoms. Products we have seen work well in our practice include HENRY’S ALLERGY MIX for those whose symptoms include itchy skin and runny nose. If you experience itchiness in the soft palate or in your ears, try ANNA’S HAYFEVER MIX. If nothing else works for you, try our AUGMENTED ALLERGY MIX as this seems to work when nothing else does. We have even had our customers use it successfully in their animals.
Minimizing the contact of pollen, mold or other allergen with the mucosal lining in the respiratory tract can be achieved with the use of CICADERMINE. Applying a thin layer to the nose prior to known exposure to an allergen can minimize the reaction you experience. Successful management of your allergy symptoms calls for attacking the problem from more than one level. Your treatment plan should include allergen avoidance, balancing your immunity, desensitizing the body, and treatment of symptoms.
Christine is a registered pharmacist with training in Natural Health Products and a passion for Integrative Medicine. She works alongside her brother, Fred at their unique family-owned and operated Pharmasave in Downtown Cloverdale, BC. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use.